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J Ferg Knowledge Base

Can Solar Panels Withstand a Hailstorm?

Solar panels in severe weather

Solar panels are installed on roofs, leaving them exposed to hail, high winds, heavy rain, and other types of severe weather. However, good solar panels are built to last, whatever the weather. They can survive a hailstorm, and more.

The durability of solar panels

Solar panels are made of glass, which doesn’t initially sound like the most durable material. However, the glass in solar panels is not like the kind in your kitchen window. It’s thick and tempered, made specially to withstand harsh conditions. In a study analyzing data from over 50,000 PV systems, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that just .1% of these systems reported being affected by damage or underperforming modules each year. The study also said that 85% of all systems produced 90% or more of the predicted electricity. The degradation rate—the gradual loss of energy production—of the panels surveyed was around .5%–1% per year. These solar systems were performing this well despite exposure to hurricanes and hail.

Solar panels and hail

In 2017, Golden, Colorado, the home of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was hit by a massive hailstorm. Of the 3,000 solar panels built there, only one was broken during the extreme weather. Solar panels are so tough because manufacturers test their panels to withstand hailstones up to one inch in diameter. This means that solar panels are stronger than your roof, which can be damaged by pieces of hail only half an inch in diameter. A benefit to this is that solar panels are, in some cases, cheaper to replace than roofs since solar panel costs are continually declining.

Other types of damage

Hailstorms aren’t the only threat to your solar panels. High winds, tornadoes, and heavy rain are all common types of severe weather that can damage your house. However, good solar panels are prepared for these weather events as well. The most common type of tornado is an F-1, which has winds of at most 112 miles per hour. Most solar panels can withstand winds of about 140 miles per hour if properly installed. Although this varies on location, your solar panel will likely be stable in most tornadoes. Water damage from heavy rain is actually very rare in solar panels and usually only occurs when the panel has a defect. Your panels will likely still be under warranty if this happens.

The importance of quality

As with every product, solar panel quality matters. High-quality solar panels will last 25 to 30 years and require little maintenance. They will also have a low degradation rate and top-notch inverters. The inverter is the most important part of a solar panel, so if it is badly made, the panel’s output will suffer. Low-quality solar panels will often have cheap inverters, making them break down more quickly and perform more poorly.

Solar panels are tougher than you think

Quality solar panels will withstand whatever the weather throws at them. Go solar and get a 25-year warranty with no upfront costs. If you qualify, your first 12 months of payment are on us. Contact J Ferg Solar today and start saving!

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